Scott Conant Dishes on Scarpetta's Fifth Anniversary, His New Book, and Miami's Food Scene
The celebrity chef has just released The Scarpetta Cookbook ($22.71 on Amazon.com), which features 125 recipes from his award-winning Italian restaurant. Scarpetta's Miami outpost is also celebrating its fifth anniversary with a series of special dinners prepared by chef de cuisine Nina Compton -- who happens to be killing it on the current season of Top Chef.
We spoke to the dapper chef over a few glasses of Casa Dragones tequila about his accomplishments, the cookbook, and what's planned for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
New Times: Scarpetta Miami Beach is celebrating its fifth anniversary. How do you feel about that?
Scott Conant: It actually feels more like about 20. Seriously, though. Look at this setting. Isn't this awesome? And we're drinking tequila. Nothing better.
How is Scarpetta doing after all this time?
There are always ebbs and flows in a restaurant's life cycle. That's a given. But one of the benefits of being at this resort is that this place is always busy. It's a world-class destination, and there are nothing but positives having Scarpetta located here. But that doesn't mean you can stay status quo. We constantly ask ourselves: "How can we stay involved, how can we remain relevant, how do we move the needle, how do we get better?" all the time. And then we work on being better.
How do you think the Miami food scene in general has changed since Scarpetta opened five years ago?
We were just talking this morning about how much the local food scene has evolved over the past five years. I've had an apartment in Miami since about 2004, and I've been coming here for a while before that. The food scene has changed so much. It's almost like every New York chef has an outpost here now, and I think the Fontainebleau has been instrumental in creating a lot of the focus. So many local chefs, like Michael Schwartz, Michelle Bernstein, and Michael Jacobs, are still doing very well. It's a very big pie and everyone is getting a piece of it, and I like to see that.